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Transitioning to CEO? Self-awareness is vital

By | September 20 th,  2018 | Sachin Jain, CareMore Health System, CEO | Add A Comment

jain-2018Sachin Jain develops his team to make his own leadership take root

 

When we last chatted with Sachin Jain, he was transitioning from his role as chief medical officer of CareMore Health System, a subsidiary of Anthem, to become president and CEO of the company.

 

So, what is his new role like, and what observations does he have that might help other new CEOs just stepping into the job?

 

“As the chief medical officer, I had responsibility for more than half the organization,” he says. “But when you’re the leader of last resort, the day never actually starts or ends. You’re just ‘on’ all the time.”

 

Jain says the new role has encouraged him to develop his leadership team and learn to delegate, and to keep in check his tendency to try to do too much.

 

“I’m actually creating boundaries for myself, so I don’t burn out,” he says. “The other piece of it has been getting to the place where my team is making decisions, not just me. I love to be involved in every single detail, but there are times when you have to pull back. I’m learning how to telescope in and out as needed.”

 

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In leadership development, the art of delegation is an undervalued skill, but one that can be taught. Personality assessments often shine a light on this. Some leaders feel they are too busy to delegate or that the quality of the work will be lacking if they don’t address it themselves. Jain’s assessment of his own journey on this path is critical because it not only took weight off his own shoulders but allowed his team to grow in new leadership roles.

 

The value of physician leadership

 

CareMore, which was founded by a physician, just reached its 25th anniversary. It has established a reputation for doing things differently as it transitions from treating primarily a Medicare population to a wider group of patients. It was the first to use taxis, Uber and Lyft to ensure patients made it to their appointments – it saved money in the long run. It bought a refrigerator for a diabetic patient who was previously unable to store insulin. And CareMore just established a chief togetherness officer to combat what it calls an epidemic of loneliness among seniors that has adverse effects on health outcomes.

 

Jain, a much-honored, Harvard-trained physician himself, believes physicians and nurses are more in demand as physician leaders and organizational executives today because health systems and insurers need to have a “clinical soul” to be most effective. “The secret sauce of any great clinical organization is the people. They have to have a high sense of efficacy. Absent that, it’s difficult to deliver high quality care.”

 

Clinicians can sometimes be at a disadvantage when they first step into leadership because their executive peers who are career administrators have in many cases been nurtured and developed as leaders since their formal education ended. That’s where accelerated physician executive development can help to bring clinicians up to speeds on an intensive basis.

 

Jain says universities are also helping in this regard.

 

“I think the reasons that physicians are finding themselves more in demand as leaders is twofold. First, a growing number of physicians are being cross-trained, and more medical schools are offering a dual MD-MBA program,” he says.

 

“Second, the thing that organizations need most is that clinical soul. You need people willing to trade off short-term profits for doing what’s right for patients. By doing that, you’ll have better outcomes for the communities we serve and, in the long run, an even better financial outcome.”

 

4 key qualities for leaders

 

With his clinical credentials and his experience as an executive, Jain and his team have developed four imperatives for leaders at CareMore:

  • “Inspire daily. Be inspirational to your people.”
  • “Be willing to do and say hard things. I think that’s a muscle we all develop over time.”
  • “Learn constantly. We’re all evolving as leaders and people.”
  • “Teach your people constantly as well. When I think about leading people, that’s absolutely critical.”

 

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Vision and mission statements create alignment on leadership teams and enhance executive team performance. The most progressive organizations find great value in developing their own goals for how they can function optimally. But less formal declarations can be essential as well for building internal engagement, like Jain’s lift of key qualities for leaders.

 

“The reality,” he says, “is that people want to stretch and more in their day-to-day work. They want to be trusted to lead and trusted to develop their best.”

 

Executive’s toolkit: The number one mindset that leaders need today

 

These are times of great challenge in healthcare – and great opportunity as well. That’s why Jain says the most needed skill in today’s leaders is something that isn’t always taught in the MD/MBA programs.

 

“I think comfort with ambiguity is the number one attribute needed in healthcare organizations today,” he says.

 

The pace of change in healthcare is making this reverberate in health entities across the U.S. Jain explains why.

 

“The way many organizations are organized and structured, decisions can take months to make. But the reality is, in today’s atmosphere, your strategy could be obsolete in weeks or months, so you need to be comfortable in that tension.

 

“Leaders help people understand this.”

 

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U.S. healthcare is broken. Sachin Jain and colleagues want to help transform it

By | October 12 th,  2016 | Anthem, Blog, CareMore Health System, CMS, extensivists, Harvard, Modern Healthcare, physician leadership, readmissions, Sachin Jain, Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare | Add A Comment

 

Classic content: One in a series of interviews with Modern Healthcare's Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare for 2016.

 

In his mid-30s, the laundry list of accomplishments that Sachin Jain, MD, MBA, has already achieved stretches like the curriculum vitae of an executive twice his age. As a medical student at Harvard, he and some friends started a medical clinic for the homeless. He eventually became a lecturer for Harvard Medical School and was a physician for Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System. He and a friend founded a new medical journal that is growing by leaps and bounds.

 

He was a senior advisor to Don Berwick at CMS and has been a leading advocate for quality and safety. He was the chief medical information and innovation officer at Merck, the pharmaceutical giant. Now, he’s the president of CareMore Health System, an innovative blend of payer and provider that’s owned by Anthem.

 

So what exactly drives this guy?

 

“On some levels, it’s outrage,” Jain says candidly. “Healthcare could be better and should be better. I’ve always been drawn to problems related to our failure to effectively apply the knowledge that we already have. Healthcare is full of those problems.”

 

The mission aspect of healthcare comes naturally to Jain. His father, Subhash Jain, MD, founded the pain management service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. One of his aunts, Shanti Jain, MD, went against the grain in her native India by opting not to marry. She devoted her life to rural healthcare in India, going places other clinicians were loathe to go.

 

“She was somebody who saw problems in the world and came up with solutions,” says Jain of the woman who was an early pen pal of his as he grew up in New Jersey. “It wasn’t just about healthcare. She went to one community and saw the kids didn’t have a good education, so she built a school. She saw that the sanitation system was an obstacle to good healthcare so she started fixing the tatters of the sanitation system there.”

 

When Jain’s aunt died of ovarian cancer, her sister, Kanti Jain, MD, who was a diabetes researcher at Cornell University, moved to India to take over the work. Jain says he himself toyed with the idea of moving to Asia as well but decided against it, although he has volunteered with the medical mission there.

 

“Somewhere along the way, as the first person in my family to be born in the U.S., I became American and decided that America was my home,” he says with a chuckle. “And, frankly, I also had this realization that there are lots of people suffering from healthcare injustices right in our own back yard.”

 

With a background that includes mentors like Berwick, David Blumenthal (now head of the Commonwealth Fund) and Michael Porter (author and economist at Harvard Business School), Jain says he feels he has found an ideal outlet at CareMore for his passion around quality and safety. The organization actually was founded as a physician group by California gastroenterologist Sheldon Zinberg, MD, who created an innovative way to care for chronically ill elderly patients.

 

 

The idea is to be omnipresent via extensivists, who provide continuity of care, as well as home care to help prevent readmissions, whether that means supplying car rides to the doctor’s office or even delivering a refrigerator to keep insulin cold. It morphed into a health plan, focused on Medicare patients, and is now is a $1.2 billion enterprise that has more than 100,000 members in eight states and manages care for Medicaid patients in Memphis and Des Moines as well.

 

The results have been impressive:

 

• CareMore’s patients are hospitalized 20 percent less than the industry average, even though its population tends to be sicker than the average Medicare patient. (If one adjusts for the health of the patients, the admission rate is 40 percent less.)
• Its Congestive Heart Failure program participants on average experience 43 percent fewer hospital admissions than the average Medicare patient with CHF.
• For patients with end stage renal disease, there are 45 percent fewer admissions.

 

And its members pay lower costs as well.

 

Jain admits that the CareMore model won’t fit every situation. “The CareMore model is disruptive and transformative, so we have to be very thoughtful about how and where we integrate and pilot it,” he says. “But I do think there are a number of opportunities to take the work that we’ve done successfully serving Medicare patients to serve similar patients in commercial and Medicaid populations.”

 

It’s also making its presence felt in academic medicine circles. Leaders at Emory Healthcare in Atlanta recently chose CareMore to help them transform their care model for Medicare Advantage patients. It’s a provider-payer relationship that Jain says he is excited about.

 

“The leaders at Emory were visionary in their thinking that a California-based managed-care company could be a transformation partner,” Jain says. “They were able to think beyond the stereotypes of the payer industry and get into the guts of what CareMore actually does – and how it might be relevant in their setting.”

 

A year after joining CareMore as chief operating officer and chief medical officer, Jain was promoted to president in April 2016. With that distinction, he joins a growing list of physicians who are at the helm of healthcare organizations. He continues to see patients on a limited basis, and says he knows why physicians are willing to take on a bigger role.

 

“For the first time, you have a generation of physicians who are seeing that the system is broken,” Jain says. “They believe they can and should lead change, and that their insights as physicians can drive better care.

 

“We want to deliver better healthcare. We want to bring back the joy of work to actually delivering healthcare. There are few better jobs in the world than being a physician or a nurse where you get to take care of patients and be a part of their lives in that intimate way. There’s nothing quite like it.”

 

 

The healthcare system is broken. Sachin Jain and colleagues want to help transform it

By | May 6 th,  2016 | Anthem, Blog, CareMore Health System, CMS, extensivists, Harvard, Modern Healthcare, physician leadership, readmissions, Sachin Jain, Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare | Add A Comment

 

One in a series of interviews with Modern Healthcare's Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare for 2016.

 

In his mid-30s, the laundry list of accomplishments that Sachin Jain, MD, MBA, has already achieved stretches like the curriculum vitae of an executive twice his age. As a medical student at Harvard, he and some friends started a medical clinic for the homeless. He eventually became a lecturer for Harvard Medical School and was a physician for Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System. He and a friend founded a new medical journal that is growing by leaps and bounds.

 

He was a senior advisor to Don Berwick at CMS and has been a leading advocate for quality and safety. He was the chief medical information and innovation officer at Merck, the pharmaceutical giant. Now, he’s the president of CareMore Health System, an innovative blend of payer and provider that’s owned by Anthem.

 

So what exactly drives this guy?

 

“On some levels, it’s outrage,” Jain says candidly. “Healthcare could be better and should be better. I’ve always been drawn to problems related to our failure to effectively apply the knowledge that we already have. Healthcare is full of those problems.”

 

The mission aspect of healthcare comes naturally to Jain. His father, Subhash Jain, MD, founded the pain management service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. One of his aunts, Shanti Jain, MD, went against the grain in her native India by opting not to marry. She devoted her life to rural healthcare in India, going places other clinicians were loathe to go.

 

“She was somebody who saw problems in the world and came up with solutions,” says Jain of the woman who was an early pen pal of his as he grew up in New Jersey. “It wasn’t just about healthcare. She went to one community and saw the kids didn’t have a good education, so she built a school. She saw that the sanitation system was an obstacle to good healthcare so she started fixing the tatters of the sanitation system there.”

 

When Jain’s aunt died of ovarian cancer, her sister, Kanti Jain, MD, who was a diabetes researcher at Cornell University, moved to India to take over the work. Jain says he himself toyed with the idea of moving to Asia as well but decided against it, although he has volunteered with the medical mission there.

 

“Somewhere along the way, as the first person in my family to be born in the U.S., I became American and decided that America was my home,” he says with a chuckle. “And, frankly, I also had this realization that there are lots of people suffering from healthcare injustices right in our own back yard.”

 

With a background that includes mentors like Berwick, David Blumenthal (now head of the Commonwealth Fund) and Michael Porter (author and economist at Harvard Business School), Jain says he feels he has found an ideal outlet at CareMore for his passion around quality and safety. The organization actually was founded as a physician group by California gastroenterologist Sheldon Zinberg, MD, who created an innovative way to care for chronically ill elderly patients.

 

 

The idea is to be omnipresent via extensivists, who provide continuity of care, as well as home care to help prevent readmissions, whether that means supplying car rides to the doctor’s office or even delivering a refrigerator to keep insulin cold. It morphed into a health plan, focused on Medicare patients, and is now is a $1.2 billion enterprise that has more than 100,000 members in eight states and manages care for Medicaid patients in Memphis and Des Moines as well.

 

The results have been impressive:

 

• CareMore’s patients are hospitalized 20 percent less than the industry average, even though its population tends to be sicker than the average Medicare patient. (If one adjusts for the health of the patients, the admission rate is 40 percent less.)
• Its Congestive Heart Failure program participants on average experience 43 percent fewer hospital admissions than the average Medicare patient with CHF.
• For patients with end stage renal disease, there are 45 percent fewer admissions.

 

And its members pay lower costs as well.

 

Jain admits that the CareMore model won’t fit every situation. “The CareMore model is disruptive and transformative, so we have to be very thoughtful about how and where we integrate and pilot it,” he says. “But I do think there are a number of opportunities to take the work that we’ve done successfully serving Medicare patients to serve similar patients in commercial and Medicaid populations.”

 

It’s also making its presence felt in academic medicine circles. Leaders at Emory Healthcare in Atlanta recently chose CareMore to help them transform their care model for Medicare Advantage patients. It’s a provider-payer relationship that Jain says he is excited about.

 

“The leaders at Emory were visionary in their thinking that a California-based managed-care company could be a transformation partner,” Jain says. “They were able to think beyond the stereotypes of the payer industry and get into the guts of what CareMore actually does – and how it might be relevant in their setting.”

 

A year after joining CareMore as chief operating officer and chief medical officer, Jain was promoted to president in April 2016. With that distinction, he joins a growing list of physicians who are at the helm of healthcare organizations. He continues to see patients on a limited basis, and says he knows why physicians are willing to take on a bigger role.

 

“For the first time, you have a generation of physicians who are seeing that the system is broken,” Jain says. “They believe they can and should lead change, and that their insights as physicians can drive better care.

 

“We want to deliver better healthcare. We want to bring back the joy of work to actually delivering healthcare. There are few better jobs in the world than being a physician or a nurse where you get to take care of patients and be a part of their lives in that intimate way. There’s nothing quite like it.”

 

 

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